The Condesa and Roma district of Mexico City is a residential and restaurant area on both sides of Insurgentes avenue (Condesa on the west side, Roma on the east side) between Viaducto Miguel Alemán in the south and Avenida Chapultepec in the north. It's a large area with mostly Art Deco architecture, large parks, and a relaxed atmosphere.
La Condesa, an area consisting of several colonias on the west side of Avenida Insurgentes, became immensely popular with artists, musicians and other creative people in the mid 90s, resulting in rising real estate costs and an abundance of hip restaurants, cafes, and bars. Today, La Condesa is still worth a visit, although many of the pioneers moved on to other neighbouring areas. One such area is Col. Roma, on the opposite side of Insurgentes from Condesa, which is less developed, but has a similar flavor.
The area of Condesa closest to Insurgentes is focused around Avenida Amsterdam, a large, oval street that used to be the track of the area's horse racetrack (thus the name for this colonia, Hipódromo Condesa). Av. Amsterdam is long and slightly curving, making it easy to lose your direction while going along it. It's dotted with small roundabouts where other streets cross it, and a large part of the area inside it is taken up by the Parqué México, with an open-air amphitheatre on one end, and small lanes amongst large trees and fountains on the other. There are several good restaurants and bars in this area, but it's the most residential, and least urban, of the Condesa.
The other part of Condesa is Col. Condesa, a bit further away from Insurgentes, on the other side of Av. Nuevo León. This is much more heavily developed, and has an impressive assortment of bars, restaurants, and sidewalk cafes.
Col. Roma, on the other side of Insurgentes, has less greenery and is more urbanized. It's going through a period of very fast real estate development at the moment, as prices and popularity are increasing. There are new bars and restaurants popping up every week, and it's well worth a visit. Roma also has two small malls, one by Insurgentes, the Plaza Insurgentes, and another on the east side of the area, by Avenida Cuauhtémoc, the Plaza Cuauhtémoc. Both have stores and Cinemex movie theaters.
La Condesa has experienced a building boom in the late 1990s and 2000s, resulting in many new modernist buildings, carrying on the tradition of exceptional architecture that includes fine examples of Art Deco and Streamline Moderne.
Parque Mexico This park, located in the middle of the neighborhood is an obliged visit when you are in La Condesa. The park was built in the early 1920's. The main square of the park hosts frequent music bands and they also have stalls selling handcrafts and clothing. The park has a famous fountain of a Woman and also a clock erected by the Armenian community.
There are many small shops around Condesa, selling clothing from independent designers, crafts and trendy stuff. This place recalls the Palermo neighborhood in Buenos Aires or SOHO in New York.
Mercado Alvaro Obregon Located along Alvaro Obregon Avenue, open on Saturdays, 10:00 to 16:00, sells crafts, paintings and there is an out of the ordinary stall selling fosiles and meteorites.
Mercado de Antiguedades de Cuauhtemoc Cuauhtemoc Avenue and Colima Street. Open on Saturdays, 10:00 sells lots of antique and vintage stuff, and there are many stalls selling vintage toys. Located two blocks away from Alvaro Obregon street. To reach from Reforma avenue, take a bus at Reforma and Bucareli street. Ask the driver to drop you at Colima street, you will see the stalls at your right along Cuauhtemoc avenue.
Barracuda Diner, Nuevo Leon and Sonora, Col. Condesa. 24/7. All-night hip diner with what might be Mexico City's only very good US-style diner food. Popular place to go after going out drinking. Reasonable, but not exactly low prices. MXP 100-200.
Bistro Mosaico, Michoacán 10 (between Amsterdam and Insurgentes), Condesa. It is said that french people living in Mexico frequently dine here and highly recommend it. Not very expensive and very french.
BB Kfe, Manzanillo, between Campeche and Coahuila. Mo-Sa 1PM-8PM. One block from Insurgentes on the Roma side, this small cafe offers excellent menus at very low prices until 6PM. A menu includes a soup, a salad, a main dish, a small dessert, fruit flavored water, and coffee. The pasta dishes are good and portions are abundant. MXP 40-60.
Café La Glória, Michoacan (Restaurant area of Col. Condesa, across from the Mama Rosa's). M-Su 1PM-11PM. Reasonably priced Asian/Italian fusion with a Mexican touch, good bar and good coffee. The staff is laid back to the point of being unprofessional, don't worry about asking twice for your order. Try the pasta with chicken and sesame seed oil/soy sauce. MXP 80-200.
Califa, Alfonso Reyes (a block or two from Av. Nuevo León, Col. Condesa). Su-We 1PM-11PM, Th-Sa 1PM-5AM. A litle over priced, very high quality tacos. The specialty is the gaonera (try the one with cheese), a large, thin slice of tender beef, roasted and placed on a tortilla. The house salsas are also notable for being made with fried tomatoes. After dinner, try the traditional Mexican coffee with cinnamon, café de olla. MXP100-200.
Casbah, Av. Amsterdam (Close to the corner with Iztacchiuatl, Col. Hipodromo Condesa), Tue-Sun. Authentic Moroccan food, with the requisite atmosphere. Everything on the menu is good, accompany it with the house tea, and try the house dessert, if you have a high sugar tolerance. MXP 150-300.
Chie's, Insurgentes Sur (between Baja California and Quintana Roo, a block south of Metro Chilpancingo, Col. Roma Sur). M-Su 1PM-11PM. Cheap and excellent Chinese food, mostly Cantonese, but with original twists. If the owner/chef Sr. Chie is there himself, expect to be told what to order, and to be literally spoon-fed at the table. Accept his recommendations, as they are always excellent; however his heavily accented Spanish can be hard to understand. Try the "Chinese tacos", and the chicken in lime sauce. MXP80-200.
Controne Tamaulipas 130. Almost corner with Campeche St. Argentinian-Italian food.
Don Asado, Michoacan, (Between Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas, Col. Condesa), Mon-Sun. Family run Uruguayan restaurant with a good selection of pizzas as well as high-quality steaks. Try the house specialty, the Pulpon Uruguayo, and a pizza with shrimp as a starter if you're hungry. MXP 200-300.
El 10 Alfonso Reyes and Cosala. Argentinian Food, according to some. Ran by Argentinians, very good food at a very reasonable price.
Familia Brito, Edificio Canada, Insurgentes, corner with Medellin. Mon-Sun. Family run Cuban restaurant, good food at reasonable prices. Menus include a generous main dish and a small dessert, drinks are extra. On Sundays, there's a sidewalk barbecue. MXP 60-150.
Frutos Prohibidos Amsterdam 244 (intersection of Michoacan Avenue and Amsterdam street). Mon-Sun. This fast-food place serves rolled sandwiches using flat thin white bread. Wide choice of salads. MXP 80-120.
La Uruguaya, Michoacan (Between Amsterdam and Nuevo Leon, Col. Hipodromo Condesa), Mon-Sun. This restaurant reflects the non-meat side of Uruguayan cuisine, which mostly means pastas and pizza. Try the 1 meter pizza if you're a few people, or if you're hungry, the Chivito, a big pile of French fries, eggs, bacon, salad, and seemingly everything else, which is surprisingly good, and cheap. MXP 150-300.
Mama Rosa's, Michoacan annd Atlixco (Restaurant area of Col. Condesa). Mon-Sun 1PM-11PM. Italian, Asian, and Mexican styled dishes of high quality, all presented in a pop-culture package. Try the chicken fajitas with tamarind sauce. MXP 200-300.
Parilladas Bariloche, Av. Amsterdam, (On the side of a small roundabout on Amsterdam, Col. Hipodromo Condesa), M-Su. This family run restaurant is one of the cheapest places in the city to have good Argentinian/Uruguayan food. Start with some Provolone cheese and "papas con amor", fried potato wedges with the peel still on, then the filete Bariloche (for two people, about half a kilo of meat each) if you're hungry, or the bife bufalo or the arrachera. MXP150-250.
Parrilla Quilmes, Alfonso Reyes 193, (Col. Condesa), M-Su. Authentic Argentinian family-run restaurant with wonderful meat, and good Italian pizza. Try the arrachera, and the four cheeses pizza. MXP 200-300.The Economist calls it the place where carnivores with good karma meet their destiny.
Pizza Gourmet, Huichimapan and Av. Mexico, (Right by the Plaza Popocatepetl roundabout, Col. Roma), M-Su 1PM-11PM. Tiny Italian pizza place, slow service, but great pizza. The Cuitlacoche pizza is especially popular among locals.
Yu Yi, Manzanillo, corner with Coahuila. Mon-Sat 1PM-8PM. Small cheap Chinese place with huge portions at very reasonable prices. The mixed Chow Mein is excellent, and big enough to feed two people, or one very hungry person. Don't order too much until you know the size of the portions. MXP 60-100.
Hookah Lounge: Dont miss this small supercool lounge located in Condesa, Campeche 284. It has been voted "best lounge" in Mexico city. The club serves middle eastern food as well as Flavored tobacco "hookahs" at your table. THe music selection is extremely good ranging from Electro-arabic, to house. 5584 1742 for reservations.
La Pata Negra, (same building as the Foro Condesa, corner with Nuevo Leon, Col. Condesa), Mo-Su 12PM-1AM. Relatively new, always popular bar/cafe with a good kitchen for snack food, and reasonable prices. Plays lounge, trip-hop, rock, etc. Good for chatting and meeting people. MXP100-400.
Mama Rumba, Av. Medellin (One block from Insurgentes, Col. Roma), also in San Angel (Close to Av. de La Paz), Th-Sa 6PM-3AM. One of the most popular dance clubs/bars in the city, usually very full, plays salsa, merengue, and other Cuban music. The one in San Angel is more popular, especially with the upper class, and can be hard to get into. MXP80 entrance, 100-400 drinks.